All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

Some days you feel like Bart Simpson and you’re writing “Sanremo Music Festival is not technically a Eurovision national selection for Italy” over and over again on a chalkboard.

And then you’re like, “Eat my shorts!,” because for the most part it is, even though it predates Eurovision and the winner of Sanremo doesn’t necessarily go to Eurovision. Well we at ESC United are in “Eat my shorts!” mode, and we’re treating Sanremo as a national selection and one of its entrants as Italy’s representative for Eurovision 2022. Which Italy is hosting in Turin.

We’ve given you our thoughts on the first eight Sanremo hopefuls, and now we give you the second batch of eight in alphabetical order by first name (because that is how Wikipedia does it).

Giving our thoughts on Italy’s selection of Eurovision hopefuls is our “expert” panel from across the globe. “Across the globe” is as good as it gets for this motley bunch, and here is our panel:

  • William Carter: Our ESC United Texas correspondent who often brings us bluebonnets from the bowels of the Abyss.
  • Tyler Griffiths: Our ESC United Alaska correspondent and the world’s foremost hakarl enthusiast.
  • James Maude: A British expat living in California after jaunts in South Africa and Pittsburgh.
  • David Popescu: ESC United’s resident Denmark correspondent of Romanian extract and random score generator.
  • Roy Postema: ESC United’s resident Dutch correspondent and YouTube Reactioneer.

Please note that studio versions are linked here as RAI infamously takes down its live performance videos after Sanremo has concluded.

Gianni Morandi – “Apri tutte le porte”

David – 3 – “All kinds of respect to the one and only legendary Gianni Morandi, he’s living in his own time and that’s so clear from this song. Happy and lively, but I don’t wish to live in that time, it’s way to old school for me.”

James – 10 – “I doubt Gianni will win Sanremo and represent Italy again like he did in 1970, but based on his Sanremo 2022 performance he should be invited by one of the Las Vegas casinos to do a residency. Who knew the great shake off the funk of the pandemic song would come from a 77-year-old? “Open All The Doors” is one of the best (likely) swan songs from a former Eurovision entrant you will ever hear, combining the pop of his heyday with some modern flourishes. After some frankly dull songs from some artists a third of his age, Gianni has opened the doors to let the sun shine and bring joy to Sanremo.”

Roy – 6 – “Such a wonderful veteran entry. Very fun, energetic and a live-performance that was great as well. I was definitely vibing to this when it was performed and continued to do so after that. Just a nice, uplifting song which is a nice switch-up from your more traditional veteran act.”

Tyler – 7.5 – ““Apri tutte le porte” feels outdated, but that’s a good thing for me in this case! Get big Jimmy Buffett vibes from the orchestration which I think elevates the song quite well. I didn’t quite like the little breakdown in the middle where the music goes away, but overall I had fun with this!”

William – 9.5 – “EXCUSE ME?! This man is 77, and he’s serving upbeat effervescence harder than anyone else this year. This is a BLAST. Maybe it sounds a little old-fashioned, but I would call it an intentional throwback. No one’s trying to reinvent the wheel here, but they’re gonna build you the snazziest, jazziest damn wheel you’ve ever seen. It’s shiny, bright blue, and flips open for storage of all your finest liquor bottles. Get into this, Europe.”

Total: 36 points (Average = 7.2)

Giovanni Truppi – “Tuo padre, mia madre, Lucia”

David – 2 – “I’ll jump straight to the point… the mix between the dialogue and singing, absolutely ruins this song for me. I didn’t feel like I was listening to a proper song, musically I’m just disappointed. I can also hear the all of the instruments that were used for the song, but they just come out as barely used, I just feel a lot was missing.”

James – 8 – “If a Maynard James Keenan look-alike entered Sanremo 2022 to do a bit of spoken word and a bit of a love song between two very messy and flawed married lovers, it might be something like this. This is wacky, a little bit dangerous even in that drug dealer has decided to go to art school kind of way. He’s a late career bloomer and at 40, making his debut at Sanremo, he should be applauded.”

Roy – 3 – “Somehow, this really really intrigues me. I keep thinking that I will love it at the next listen, but that moment just never really happened. I don’t think this talking-singing will work at all at Eurovision, but it is great to have in SanRemo as kind of a change of pace. The biggest issue is that the song changes direction so often that you can never really ease in and enjoy it.”

Tyler – 5 – ““Tuo padre, mia madre, Lucia” definitely stands out to me in this selection, but not necessarily for the right reasons. I think the orchestration is lovely, but what I don’t really care for is the performance Giovanni gives. Talk-singing isn’t quite My Thing so this entire song’s lyrics didn’t really connect with me as if it was a conversation or something. It’s another case where I like the musicality of the piece, but not nearly the presentation from the singer itself so bye!”

William – 6.5 – “This is the tale of two songs for me. The more casual, deep-toned, almost spoken word sections are gorgeous. When the chorus and the orchestra kick in, the magic gets stifled. I’m drawn to this, even while acknowledging that I only think about half of it works. It’s just that the half that works REALLY works.”

Total: 24.5 points (Average = 4.9)

Giusy Ferreri – “Miele”

David – 6 – “A very classical song in sound, and honestly, it has it’s charm. It’s calming and yet intriguing as well. Guisy is even carrying the song with her raspy voice and feels perfect to the song. It just not memorable enough and a bit heavy eventually, but not bad.”

James – 8.5 – “A classic, jazzy pop number from another big name in Italy making their long overdue debut at Sanremo. Lyrically it’s a little sad, about an affair that didn’t quite work out and the hope that he comes back to her. Her singing through the horn is a cute touch, though frankly unnecessary. I am getting the sense the Sanremo organizers want a power ballad by a big name to succeed Maneskin and perform in Turin, and if that is the case, “Miele” would not be a bad pick.”

Roy – 4 – “I just find myself completely zoning out while listening to this song in the studio version. Live, Giusy definitely fixes that a little bit with her charisma and liveliness, but still the song never really excited me. It exist and it is okay, but I don’t see this going anywhere.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “When I think about gimmicks, I usually like it when the gimmicks support and elevate the song in a way to make it memorable. In my case with “Miele”, Giusy playing the horn on stage twice is the only parts of the song that I truly remember and the rest is just (shrugs shoulders). I like the beat of the song, but it doesn’t feel like a winner, and she was the big name I recognized from her being an interval act at FiK in 2020. Rip queen.”

William – 5.5 – “OK. I don’t really get the megaphone thing. But whatever. I’ve loved Giussy Ferreri’s voice since I first heard it over a decade ago. This kind of husky, lyrical vocal tone? Right up my alley. I especially love the moments in the song when the string section takes over. It’s a very compelling hook. Not sure this comes together in a way that’s TOTALLY satisfying, but I will be humming this to myself for a while.”

Total: 30.5 points (Average = 6.1)

Highsnob & Hu – “Abbi cura di te”

David – 6 – “There is something touching about this duet. I feel invested in it and very curious. I feel I’m listening to a story, but it does get very heavy eventually and hard to follow. Hu has however great control over her voice. I wish there was something more musically over the song, in order to score it higher.”

James – 7 – “Highsnob & Hu sounds like a terrible Adult Swim detective spoof show, but rather they’re a couple singing about the end of love. Their onstage hug is quite poignant and is a perfect cap to the song. Their only problem is that they are performing outside their preferred genre and playing with a love ballad where most of their Sanremo rivals have been playing for 15 years. They seem a bit raw and out of their depth in comparison. It’s not a bad song at all, but there’s a few better options out there.”

Roy – 2.5 – “This is another one of them that just really gets lost in the suffle. Everytime that I listen to the playlist I am like: ‘ahh yeah, right, forgot about this one.’ And that just isn’t a good thing at all. Vocally there is no excitement. The hi-hats infused backing tracks is also not really something to write home about. Yeah, this just isn’t working for me at all.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “The orchestration is sweeping and there are moments where it kicks in and I truly feel like “Abbi cura di te” will take me on a wonderful journey, only to be stopped in my tracks because I don’t like Highsnob’s vocals at all oops. I think Hu is good here, and I’m curious to see what solo Hu is like, but not with Highsnob. The hug at the end was cute, but I don’t think this song has the bite necessarily to win.”

William – 6 – “This is ALMOST the Fire Saga parody of itself … so earnest, so self-serious, so peculiar. But they sell it! The performance comes off as committed and emotionally honest. It’s not a song that has totally stuck in my head. It hasn’t GRABBED me yet, but it’s come close.”

Total: 28 points (Average = 5.6)

Irama – “Ovunque sarai”

David – 2 – “Great to see Irama getting to perform after what happened last year, unfortunately it was with a song far from what he had last year. Going with a ballad is already a bad sign with me, and despite a strong vocal, the song still didn’t go anywhere for me personally and I’m just left with nothing in the end.”

James – 7.5 – “After the critical acclaim of “La genesi del tuo colore” last year and the bad luck – coming up against the juggernaut of Maneskin, his having to show a video instead of perform live because of COVID, and resurfacing of old comments he’d long ago apologized for – it seems a bit strange he comes back with a meditation on death. “Ovunque sarai” is a promise to carry on to the loved ones Irama has lost. Despite Irama’s powerful vocals, the song overall feels a little flat and doesn’t quite lift out of the mode of “dirge.” I fear 2021 was Irama’s moment to shine, and his moment was stolen by being in the right place at the wrong time.”

Roy – 8.5 – “This song is beautifully orchestrated, especially in the studio version. In the first live performance, I didn’t fully feel the excitement, but perhaps I was also expecting a bit too much after the masterpiece that he gave us last year. Irama just knows how to do a ballad well and proves yet again that he is really good at making music! I think with a more proper Eurovision staging instead of the San Remo more concert-performance-like staging, this could end up doing quite well for Italy!”

Tyler – 6.5 – “Okay, I think the way Irama sings “Ovunque sarai” is good, as it makes it feel like he’s filling the auditorium with his voice. Yay! Do I think the song itself is good? Only mildly! “Ovunque sarai” feels like a song meant to show off vocals, but doesn’t really move me in an emotional way and it’s just a singing exercise more than anything. I also think Irama’s outfit is a choice. What’s with the spiderweb smock? Definitely stands out, but in a good way? I don’t think so, but the drama is appreciated.”

William – 7 – “His dreamy vocals, the slow build of the backing vocals, the gradual infusion of orchestration  … this is lovely. I wish he was a little more inviting as a performer? I walk away feeling at a bit of a remove. But this is still really good stuff. His vocal power is no joke.”

Total: 31.5 points (Average = 6.3)

Iva Zanicchi – “Voglio amarti”

David – 2 – “I would describe this as a classical gloomy song, which goes really well with Iva’s voice. Unfortunately, this is definitely not something for me, it becomes very heavy and depressing and slowly kills my more uplifting mood. Of course, huge respect, but this is just not for me.”

James – 6 – “Of the classic former Eurovision attendees at Sanremo this year, Iva’s is the least compelling ballad. Iva gives it gusto, but unlike some of her other classic rivals, this one doesn’t attempt much in the way of modernity. The guitar at the bridge is great and searing, though. However, this is a classic Italian ballad, and I appreciate RAI for giving us a few of these this year and allowing the Sanremo winners of yesterday a swan song and, especially in their host year, a reminder of the quality Italy has produced in the past.”

Roy – 2 – “A 2 might look and sound harsh, I know! I also feel bad giving it this grade, but in the Italian selection there are 25 songs. I need to have some sort of spread. It is my least favourite song of the selection. The drums are really unimaginative and boring and when they are so prominently there, it is tough to not have your focus on that. Vocally, this doesn’t really wow me either. It just results in this song being my least favourite of the selection.”

Tyler – 6 – “The orchestra really carries “Voglio amarti” for me, as it feels sweeping and grander than what the song itself might sound in the studio. I think Iva sings well, and I didn’t notice any flubs from her. However, as is often the case for me in this selection, the orchestration covers up, what to me feels like, the song just not being very memorable in general. Iva puts heart into it, but not enough for me to truly care for it at all so this score seems appropriate.”

William – 7.5 – “One of the things I most appreciate about Sanremo is that its elder performers are paid due respect. They’re not side shows or gimmicks. They’re institutions. Iva is a great vocal storyteller, and she gets some most excellent help from that electric guitar.”

Total: 23.5 points (Average = 4.7)

La Rappresentante di Lista – “Ciao ciao”

David – 4 – “A very energetic and modern song with some groovy vibes, is probably how I would describe it. The song is very much in your face and fun, but maybe a bit too much? I’m falling off it quite fast, because it feels like too much is going on.”

James – 5.5 – “It’s an end of the world party! You DTF? That’s the gist of the song. It’s not the cleverest or the most original in this sub-genre of activist pop rock, and the clenched fist at the end sets the eyes a-rollin’ considering the lyric before it was “with legs, with ass, and with my eyes, Ciao Ciao.” This is not the worst activist pop we’ve heard this year (looking at Ireland for that one), but this song reeks of posh kids sneering at the rest of us. Slick bassline, though.”

Roy – 9 – “I just think that this song would make an absolutely wonderful host entry! It is funky, insanely danceable and very fun! It has a wonderful cheekiness about it and it is an amazing positive earworm! The live delivery is perhaps lacking a tad bit. The amount of words that have to be sung in the chorus make her a bit out of breath to really deliver the ‘ciao ciao’ the best she could. Nonetheless, amazing song!”

Tyler – 8.5 – “An upbeat and fun song, yes please! “Ciao ciao” loses a little magic from me in the sound mixing, as I feel her mic is down too much. But I like the trumpets and it just seems like a fun act that might not win Eurovision but is still memorable. I think with better staging this would be more fun to see!”

William – 8.5 – “Well this is just a good time. She is an ENTERTAINER. She’s delivering on just about every level. Personally, I think the song could hit a little harder in the verses and the bridge, but the chorus is KILLER. Jazz-y, cheeky, energetic … this is one to watch out for.”

Total: 35.5 points (Average = 7.1)

Le Vibrazioni – “Tantissimo”

David – 5 – “We all need some Italian rock now and then. The great thing about this song, is the instruments, this is what I love about rock in general, there is just this great use of instruments which make them all sound so much more intriguing, it’s a little old stylish as well, I’m getting some 90’s/early 2000’s style of rock. There was sadly a lack of a proper solo, like a crazy good drum solo or a guitar solo. Notice also how invested I am in the music, but not in the vocal performance at all, because I didn’t feel any short of hook nor anything captivating, huge shame… could’ve been such a much better song.”

James – 8.5 – “Like The Rasmus, The Vibrations are another ‘00s era alternative rock band coming back. Unlike The Rasmus, The Vibrations don’t sound like relics going into 2022. And if you’re a kid in 2022 and don’t approve, it at least sounds fresh enough for the kid’s Dad to rock to without being too embarrassing. The Vibrations had a decent entry two years ago at Sanremo that came in 4th and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one matches that result. It’s up to Italy’s Dads to stop tinkering in the garage with their old Alfa Romeos and vote. And when the Alfa Romeo is running again, crank “Tantissimo” up to 10.”

Roy – 5.5 – “This live performance was kind of a trainwreck. It just wasn’t very strong vocally. It hovered in the bottom of my first initial ranking, then I listened to the studio versions and I was very pleasantly surprised by how nice this rock-song actually is. Maybe with a lot of improvement in the live-performance this could be a good idea to send to Eurovision.”

Tyler – 6 – “The dad rock group that I kinda don’t mind! “Tantissimo” is in fact a song at Sanremo that isn’t quite as rock as I would like, but also decently pleasant to listen to, even if it’s a bit unmemorable at the same time. Everything is blending together at this point as I’m listening to Sanremo, so while the genre itself makes it stand out, I don’t really see anything from Le Vibrazioni that makes the performance crazy memorable if that makes sense.”

William – 4 – “I wish I liked the song as much as I like the presentation. The entire group has a lot of swag and stage presence, but the song never really takes off for me. It’s ‘rock ‘n roll’ in lowercase letters, know what I mean?”

Total: 29 points (Average = 5.8)

So after our second round of songs, we have reviewed 16 songs and this is our new ranking table, with 77-year-old Gianni Morandi the new leader thanks mostly to a perfect score of 10 and a near-perfect 9.5 in the mix. We shall see with 9 acts to go if Morandi remains our leader or if we find a new act to recommend.

1.) Gianni Morandi – “Apri tutte le porte” – 36 points (Average = 7.2)

2.) La Rappresentante di Lista – “Ciao ciao” – 35.5 points (Average = 7.1)

3.) Emma – “Ogni volta è così” – 32.5 points (Average = 6.5)

4.) Aka 7even – “Perfetta così” – 32 points (Average = 6.4)* Median = 7 ** (HiLo = 7.5,4)

5.) Elisa – “O forse sei tu” – 32 points (Average = 6.4)* Median = 7 ** (HiLo = 9,2)

6.) Irama – “Ovunque sarai” – 31.5 points (Average = 6.3)

7.) Giusy Ferreri – “Miele” – 30.5 points (Average = 6.1)

8.) Ana Mena – “Duecentomila ore” – 32 points (Average = 6.4)* Median = 6

9.) Fabrizio Moro – “Sei tu” – 30 points (Average = 6.0)

10.) Le Vibrazioni – “Tantissimo” – 29 points (Average = 5.8)

11.) Ditonellapiaga & Donatella Rettore – “Chimica” – 28.5 points (Average = 5.7)

12.) Highsnob & Hu – “Abbi cura di te” – 28 points (Average = 5.6)

13.) Achille Lauro feat. Harlem Gospel Choir – “Domenica” – 27 points (Average = 5.4)

14.) Dargen D’Amico – “Dove si balla” – 26.5 points (Average = 5.3)

15.) Giovanni Truppi – “Tuo padre, mia madre, Lucia” – 24.5 points (Average = 4.9)

16.) Iva Zanicchi – “Voglio amarti” – 23.5 points (Average = 4.7)

Which Sanremo artist do #YOU want to win and represent Italy at Eurovision 2022? Do #YOU agree with our writers, or do #YOU think they need to open the doors and find some taste? Let us know in the comments below, in our forum, or on our social media.

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